A January 2002 trip
to New Zealand by Bethany Davidson-Widby
Quote: While teaching for an American traveling outdoor adventure school, we traveled to New Zealand for three months of adventure.
If you plan to visit, visit for as long as possible. Be aware, you may not want to leave!
Attraction | "Camping Below the Rob Roy Glacier"
We each camped solo that night, and the only thing that freaked me out was when the kia birds tried to steal my tent with me in it in the middle of the night during the pouring rain! What were they thinking? Word to the wise: don't feed the kias. . . even if they do take pineapple chunks right from your hand.
Waking up with the sun, I was rewarded with another spectacular view of the glacier and the waterfalls I had listened to all night. The clouds were just moving in and covering the upper part of the glacier. I hiked up and down the river looking for a way across, but the current was too fast and I didn't want to chance being swept downstream. I spent the day hiking below the glacier, writing in my journal, and enjoying the serenity of it all. Though I wish I could have stayed longer, I knew that it was time to say goodbye to the glacier, for one day I would return.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 17, 2003
Mount Aspiring National Park
South Island, New Zealand
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 18, 2003
Attraction | "Caving at the Waitomo Caves"
100 meters underground. That's where I was headed. We put on full wetsuits, boots, harnesses, and helmets and went to the entry point of the caves for a quick lesson in rappelling.
We rappelled down the 100 meters, through this little hole, into the darkness of the cave below. I sang the whole way to keep myself from freaking out.
After the entire group descended and unclipped, we walked a short distance, hooked to a lead line, to the start of a zip line. One by one we were sent down the zip line. Did I mention they turned out all the lights as you were sent down the line? At the end of the line, we took off our harnesses and were given big black inner tubes which we were supposed to jump on on the underground river. The jump was a bit unnerving and my inner tube went one way and myself the other.
As we paddled along the underground river, we turned off our lights and were surrounded by the natural light given off by the millions of glow worms all over the tunnel. The sight was amazing!
As we floated back to where we hopped into the river, we left our tubes there and went walking through the caves, swimming at times, sliding down natural slides, squeezing ourselves through tight spots and underwater ledges such as the "birth canal". Walking under waterfalls that cascaded from the ground above, this truly was a different world.
Waitomo Glowworm Caves
Waitomo Caves Road
Waitmo, New Zealand
64 7 878 8227
The town is filled with a few great coffee shops. Enjoy Mexican food and great margaritas on the terrace at Amigos Cafe. Bombay Palace has amazing Indian food. Especially if you like it spicy! Don't forget to stop at the Snack Shack for some of the best fast food around. Their spicy chips are awesome and worth the couple minute wait.
Visit the large park between town and the campground and join in on a game of ultimate frisbee.
The gear stores have just about everything you need, or they can order it for you. The staff are very knowledgeable about climbing and hiking in the region.